SAUDI ARABIA THE TERRORIST COUNTRY
Saudi opposition clerics make sectarian call to jihad in Syria
Oct. 05, 2015
Dozens of Islamist Saudi clerics have called on Arab and Muslim
countries to "give all moral, material, political and military" support
to what they term a jihad, or holy war, against Syria's government and
its Iranian and Russian backers.
the clerics who signed the online statement are not affiliated with the
government, their strong sectarian and anti-Christian language reflects
mounting anger among many Saudis over Russian and Iranian involvement
in Syria's war.
last week started airstrikes against Syrian opposition targets that it
describes as aimed at weakening ISIS, a move Riyadh has denounced. The
clerics' statement compared it to the Soviet Union's 1980 invasion of
Afghanistan, which prompted an international jihad.
holy warriors of Syria are defending the whole Islamic nation. Trust
them and support them ... because if they are defeated, God forbid, it
will be the turn of one Sunni country after another," the statement
along with Turkey and other Gulf states, is a main supporter of rebels
fighting Syrian President Bashar Assad, backed by Iran and Russia, but
it is also worried about the rise of jihadi groups such as ISIS among
jets have joined airstrikes against ISIS in Syria, while the government
has decreed long prison terms for anyone who supports the group, whose
sympathizers have killed dozens in attacks in the kingdom this year.
bloodshed in Syria, part of a wider struggle for regional supremacy
between Saudi Arabia and Iran, has aggravated sectarian anger across
the Middle East and drawn religiously motivated foreign fighters to
state-affiliated clergy have already termed the war a jihad for
Syrians, but they have also denounced ISIS and al-Qaeda and said that
Saudi citizens must not go abroad to fight or give the rebels money
except via government channels.
53 signatories, including prominent Islamists with a history of
opposing the government, were careful not to contradict that message,
for example by calling on Saudis to join the jihad, but they also did
not speak out against travel for jihad.
letter, which used sectarian terms for both Iran and Assad's Alawite
sect, a Shiite offshoot, also portrayed Russian involvement as part of
an Orthodox Christian crusade, and attacked the West for denying the
rebels anti-aircraft weapons.
Western-Russian coalition with the Safavids (Iran) and the Nusairis
(Alawites) are making a real war against the Sunni people and their
countries," the statement said.
S. Arabia arrests 431 with IS ties
Posted on 19 July 2015
Saudi Arabia has arrested 431 people suspected of belonging to Islamic
State (IS) cells and thwarted attacks on mosques, security forces and a
diplomatic mission, the interior ministry said on Saturday.
announcement came after a car bomb exploded at a checkpoint near the
kingdom's highest security prison on Thursday, killing the driver and
wounding two security officials in an attack claimed by Islamic State.
string of deadly attacks carried out by followers of the ultra-hardline
militant group based in Iraq and Syria has fueled concerns about a
growing threat of militancy in the world's top oil exporter.
number arrested to date is 431, most of them citizens, in addition to
participants from other nationalities ... six successive suicide
operations which targeted mosques in the Eastern province on every
Friday timed with assassinations of security men were thwarted," the
ministry statement posted on the official news agency SPA said.
plots to target a diplomatic mission, security and government
facilities in Sharurah province and the assassination of security men
were thwarted," it said.
ministry did not elaborate on when the men were detained, but previous
announcements that scores of suspects have been arrested suggest it was
over the course of months.
alleged offences cited by the ministry ranged from smuggling
explosives, surveying potential attack sites, providing transport and
material support to bombers, smuggling in explosives from abroad and
manufacturing suicide vests.
State has called on supporters to carry out attacks in the kingdom and
killed 25 people in two suicide bombings at Shi'ite Muslim mosques in
the country's east in May. A Saudi man, reportedly aided by several
other men from the kingdom, blew himself up in a Shi'ite mosque and
killed 27 worshippers in June.
group says its priority target is the Arabian peninsula and in
particular Saudi Arabia, home of Islam's holiest places, from where it
plans to expel Shi'ite Muslims.
interior ministry said the suspects arrested in the kingdom were
carrying out "schemes directed from trouble spots abroad and are aimed
at inciting sectarian strife and chaos".
Defence Secretary Ash Carter will travel next week to Saudi Arabia as
part of the Obama administration's efforts to convince sceptical allies
in the region about the benefits of the Iran nuclear deal.
an interview with the New York Times this week, President Obama urged
America's traditional Sunni allies in the Gulf to better embrace their
argument has been to my allies in the region, let's stop giving Iran
opportunities for mischief. Strengthen your own societies. Be
inclusive," Obama said. — Reuters
Arab Bill Gates Could Turn 'Shariah Creep' Into Full Trot
Investors Business Daily
Islamofascism: Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a senior member of the Saudi monarchy, says he'll pledge his $32 billion fortune to charity. In light of his past donations, this is a highly concerning development.
Alwaleed says he will model his endowment on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, only with a twist: Much of his philanthropic work will help "foster cultural understanding" of Islam in America and the West.
That means promoting the kingdom's brand of Islam, while censoring criticism of Islam.
Published reports and books reveal Alwaleed already has pledged millions to radical Muslim Brotherhood front groups that have a secret plan to Islamize America and spread Shariah law throughout the West. These pro-jihad groups can now count on a massive and virtually endless infusion of cash to their war chests.
Alwaleed has extensive ties to Brotherhood leaders. For example, he tapped "tele-Islamist" Tariq Al-Suwaidan, widely reported to be a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Kuwait, as the channel director of his Islamic religious TV outlet Al Risala.
The network's "Supreme Advisory Committee" has included Abdullah Omar Naseef, whom ex-federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy says is "a major Muslim Brotherhood figure" who has helped raise funds for al-Qaida.
Alwaleed made headlines after 9/11 when he donated $10 million to the World Trade Center fund only to have then-New York mayor Rudy Giuliani return the check. After presenting the money, the Saudi billionaire issued a press statement blaming the terrorist attacks on U.S. support for Israel while "our Palestinian brethren continue to be slaughtered at the hands of the Israelis."
The next year, Alwaleed donated a whopping $27 million to a Saudi telethon for the violent Palestinian intifada against Israel, according to the Clarion Project.
Also in 2002, he gave $500,000 to the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations, which federal authorities have linked to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.
In 2005, moreover, he spent $40 million to expand Islamic studies at U.S. colleges — donating $20 million to Harvard University to create a campuswide Shariah law studies program, while pumping another $20 million into Georgetown University for a "Muslim-Christian understanding" program run by notorious Islamic apologist John Esposito.
Despite fawning press reports, Alwaleed's charitable pledge is no cause for celebration. It's cause for alarm. His billions will finance Islamist pressure groups who exist to force Western civilization to yield to Islamic no-go zones, Shariah courts and blasphemy laws.
If unmatched by patriotic philanthropists, the Saudi prince's huge endowment could be a major setback for state and local efforts to push back against Islamization.
How the FBI is whitewashing the Saudi connection to 9/11
By Paul Sperry
April 12, 2015
New York Post
Just 15 days before the 9/11 attacks, a well-connected Saudi family suddenly abandoned their luxury home in Sarasota, Fla., leaving behind jewelry, clothes, opulent furniture, a driveway full of cars — including a brand new Chrysler PT Cruiser — and even a refrigerator full of food.
the only thing not left behind was a forwarding address. The occupants
simply vanished without notifying their neighbors, realtor or even mail
3,300-square-foot home on Escondito Circle belonged to Esam Ghazzawi, a
Saudi adviser to the nephew of then-King Fahd. But at the time, it was
occupied by his daughter and son-in-law, who beat a hasty retreat back
to Saudi Arabia just two weeks before the attacks after nearly a
six-year stay here.
took note of the troubling coincidence and called the FBI, which opened
an investigation that led to the startling discovery that at least one
“family member” trained at the same flight school as some of the 9/11
hijackers in nearby Venice, Fla.
investigation into the prominent Saudi family’s ties to the hijackers
started on Sept. 19, 2001, and remained active for several years. It
was led by the FBI’s Tampa field office but also involved the bureau’s
field offices in New York and Washington, and also the Southwest
Florida Domestic Security Task Force.
identified persons of interest in the case, establishing their ties to
other terrorists, sympathies with Osama bin Laden and anti-American
remarks. They looked into their bank accounts, colleges and places of
tracked at least one suspect’s re-entry into the US.
Saudi-9/11 connection in Florida was no small part of the overall 9/11
investigation. Yet it was never shared with Congress. Nor was it
mentioned in the 9/11 Commission Report.
it’s being whitewashed again, in a newly released report by the 9/11
Review Commission, set up last year by Congress to assess “any evidence
now known to the FBI that was not considered by the 9/11 Commission.”
Though the FBI acknowledges the Saudi family was investigated, it
maintains the probe was a dead end.
review panel highlighted one local FBI report generated from the
investigation that said Abdulaziz and Anoud al-Hijji, the prominent
Saudi couple who “fled” their home, had “many connections” to
“individuals associated with the terrorist attacks on 9/11/2001.”
“The FBI told the Review Commission that the communication was ‘poorly
written’ and wholly unsubstantiated,” the panel noted in its 128-page
report. “When questioned later by others in the FBI, the special agent
who wrote (it) was unable to provide any basis for the contents of the
document or explain why he wrote it as he did.”
strange. Yet panelists did not interview the unidentified agent for
themselves. They just accepted headquarters’ impeachment of his work.
still, the agent’s report was just one of many other FBI communications
detailing ties between the Saudi family and the hijackers. In fact, the
Tampa office of the FBI recently was ordered to turn over more than
80,000 pages of documents filling some 27 boxes from its 9/11
investigation to a federal judge hearing a Freedom of Information Act
case filed by local journalists over the Sarasota angle. The judge is
sorting through the boxes to determine which documents should remain
classified. Most are marked “SECRET/NOFORN,” meaning no foreign
nationals — a classification reserved for highly sensitive materials.
report provides no plausible explanation for the contradiction between
the FBI’s current claim that it found nothing and its 2002 memo finding
‘many connections’ between the Sarasota family and the 9/11
terrorists,” Thomas Julin, the attorney who filed the FOIA lawsuit
against the FBI, told the Miami Herald.
panel’s report also doesn’t explain why visitor security logs for the
gated Sarasota community and photos of license tags matched vehicles
driven by the hijackers, including 9/11 ringleader Mohamed Atta.
The three-member review panel was appointed by FBI Director James Comey, who also officially released the findings.
Democratic Sen. Bob Graham, who in 2002 chaired the congressional Joint
Inquiry into 9/11, maintains the FBI is covering up a Saudi support
cell in Sarasota for the hijackers. He says the al-Hijjis’ “urgent”
pre-9/11 exit suggests “someone may have tipped them off” about the
has been working with a 14-member group in Congress to urge President
Obama to declassify 28 pages of the final report of his inquiry which
were originally redacted, wholesale, by President George W. Bush.
28 pages primarily relate to who financed 9/11, and they point a very
strong finger at Saudi Arabia as being the principal financier,” he
said, adding, “I am speaking of the kingdom,” or government, of Saudi
Arabia, not just wealthy individual Saudi donors.
who have read the censored Saudi section say it cites CIA and FBI case
files that directly implicate officials of the Saudi Embassy in
Washington and its consulate in Los Angeles in the attacks — which, if
true, would make 9/11 not just an act of terrorism, but an act of war
by a foreign government. The section allegedly identifies high-level
Saudi officials and intelligence agents by name, and details their
financial transactions and other dealings with the San Diego hijackers.
It zeroes in on the Islamic Affairs Department of the Saudi Embassy,
among other Saudi entities.
review commission, however, concludes there is “no evidence” that any
Saudi official provided assistance to the hijackers, even though the
panel failed to interview Graham or his two key investigators — former
Justice Department attorney Dana Lesemann and FBI investigator Michael
Jacobson — who ran down FBI leads tying Saudi officials to the San
Diego hijackers and documented their findings in the 28 pages.
smells a rat: “This is a pervasive pattern of covering up the role of
Saudi Arabia in 9/11 by all of the agencies of the federal government
which have access to information that might illuminate Saudi Arabia’s
role in 9/11.”
Inside the Saudi 9/11 coverup
By Paul Sperry
December 15, 2013
The New York Post
After the 9/11 attacks, the public was told al Qaeda acted alone, with no state sponsors.
But the White House never let it see an entire section of Congress’ investigative report on 9/11 dealing with “specific sources of foreign support” for the 19 hijackers, 15 of whom were Saudi nationals.
It was kept secret and remains so today.
President Bush inexplicably censored 28 full pages of the 800-page report. Text isn’t just blacked-out here and there in this critical-yet-missing middle section. The pages are completely blank, except for dotted lines where an estimated 7,200 words once stood (this story by comparison is about 1,000 words).
A pair of lawmakers who recently read the redacted portion say they are “absolutely shocked” at the level of foreign state involvement in the attacks.
Reps. Walter Jones (R-NC) and Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) can’t reveal the nation identified by it without violating federal law. So they’ve proposed Congress pass a resolution asking President Obama to declassify the entire 2002 report, “Joint Inquiry Into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001.”
Some information already has leaked from the classified section, which is based on both CIA and FBI documents, and it points back to Saudi Arabia, a presumed ally.
The Saudis deny any role in 9/11, but the CIA in one memo reportedly found “incontrovertible evidence” that Saudi government officials — not just wealthy Saudi hardliners, but high-level diplomats and intelligence officers employed by the kingdom — helped the hijackers both financially and logistically. The intelligence files cited in the report directly implicate the Saudi embassy in Washington and consulate in Los Angeles in the attacks, making 9/11 not just an act of terrorism, but an act of war.
The findings, if confirmed, would back up open-source reporting showing the hijackers had, at a minimum, ties to several Saudi officials and agents while they were preparing for their attacks inside the United States. In fact, they got help from Saudi VIPs from coast to coast:
LOS ANGELES: Saudi consulate official Fahad al-Thumairy allegedly arranged for an advance team to receive two of the Saudi hijackers — Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi — as they arrived at LAX in 2000. One of the advance men, Omar al-Bayoumi, a suspected Saudi intelligence agent, left the LA consulate and met the hijackers at a local restaurant. (Bayoumi left the United States two months before the attacks, while Thumairy was deported back to Saudi Arabia after 9/11.)
SAN DIEGO: Bayoumi and another suspected Saudi agent, Osama Bassnan, set up essentially a forward operating base in San Diego for the hijackers after leaving LA. They were provided rooms, rent and phones, as well as private meetings with an American al Qaeda cleric who would later become notorious, Anwar al-Awlaki, at a Saudi-funded mosque he ran in a nearby suburb. They were also feted at a welcoming party. (Bassnan also fled the United States just before the attacks.)
WASHINGTON: Then-Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar and his wife sent checks totaling some $130,000 to Bassnan while he was handling the hijackers. Though the Bandars claim the checks were “welfare” for Bassnan’s supposedly ill wife, the money nonetheless made its way into the hijackers’ hands.
Other al Qaeda funding was traced back to Bandar and his embassy — so much so that by 2004 Riggs Bank of Washington had dropped the Saudis as a client.
The next year, as a number of embassy employees popped up in terror probes, Riyadh recalled Bandar.
“Our investigations contributed to the ambassador’s departure,” an investigator who worked with the Joint Terrorism Task Force in Washington told me, though Bandar says he left for “personal reasons.”
FALLS CHURCH, VA.: In 2001, Awlaki and the San Diego hijackers turned up together again — this time at the Dar al-Hijrah Islamic Center, a Pentagon-area mosque built with funds from the Saudi Embassy. Awlaki was recruited 3,000 miles away to head the mosque. As its imam, Awlaki helped the hijackers, who showed up at his doorstep as if on cue. He tasked a handler to help them acquire apartments and IDs before they attacked the Pentagon.
Awlaki worked closely with the Saudi Embassy. He lectured at a Saudi Islamic think tank in Merrifield, Va., chaired by Bandar. Saudi travel itinerary documents I’ve obtained show he also served as the official imam on Saudi Embassy-sponsored trips to Mecca and tours of Saudi holy sites.
Most suspiciously, though, Awlaki fled the United States on a Saudi jet about a year after 9/11.
As I first reported in my book, “Infiltration,” quoting from classified US documents, the Saudi-sponsored cleric was briefly detained at JFK before being released into the custody of a “Saudi representative.” A federal warrant for Awlaki’s arrest had mysteriously been withdrawn the previous day. A US drone killed Awlaki in Yemen in 2011.
HERNDON, VA.: On the eve of the attacks, top Saudi government official Saleh Hussayen checked into the same Marriott Residence Inn near Dulles Airport as three of the Saudi hijackers who targeted the Pentagon. Hussayen had left a nearby hotel to move into the hijackers’ hotel. Did he meet with them? The FBI never found out. They let him go after he “feigned a seizure,” one agent recalled. (Hussayen’s name doesn’t appear in the separate 9/11 Commission Report, which clears the Saudis.)
SARASOTA, FLA.: 9/11 ringleader Mohamed Atta and other hijackers visited a home owned by Esam Ghazzawi, a Saudi adviser to the nephew of King Fahd. FBI agents investigating the connection in 2002 found that visitor logs for the gated community and photos of license tags matched vehicles driven by the hijackers. Just two weeks before the 9/11 attacks, the Saudi luxury home was abandoned. Three cars, including a new Chrysler PT Cruiser, were left in the driveway. Inside, opulent furniture was untouched.
Democrat Bob Graham, the former Florida senator who chaired the Joint Inquiry, has asked the FBI for the Sarasota case files, but can’t get a single, even heavily redacted, page released. He says it’s a “coverup.”
Is the federal government protecting the Saudis? Case agents tell me they were repeatedly called off pursuing 9/11 leads back to the Saudi Embassy, which had curious sway over White House and FBI responses to the attacks.
Just days after Bush met with the Saudi ambassador in the White House, the FBI evacuated from the United States dozens of Saudi officials, as well as Osama bin Laden family members. Bandar made the request for escorts directly to FBI headquarters on Sept. 13, 2001 — just hours after he met with the president. The two old family friends shared cigars on the Truman Balcony while discussing the attacks.
Bill Doyle, who lost his son in the World Trade Center attacks and heads the Coalition of 9/11 Families, calls the suppression of Saudi evidence a “coverup beyond belief.” Last week, he sent out an e-mail to relatives urging them to phone their representatives in Congress to support the resolution and read for themselves the censored 28 pages.
Astonishing as that sounds, few lawmakers in fact have bothered to read the classified section of arguably the most important investigation in US history.
Granted, it’s not easy to do. It took a monthlong letter-writing campaign by Jones and Lynch to convince the House intelligence panel to give them access to the material.
But it’s critical they take the time to read it and pressure the White House to let all Americans read it. This isn’t water under the bridge. The information is still relevant today. Pursuing leads further, getting to the bottom of the foreign support, could help head off another 9/11.
As the frustrated Joint Inquiry authors warned, in an overlooked addendum to their heavily redacted 2002 report, “State-sponsored terrorism substantially increases the likelihood of successful and more lethal attacks within the United States.”
Their findings must be released, even if they forever change US-Saudi relations. If an oil-rich foreign power was capable of orchestrating simultaneous bulls-eye hits on our centers of commerce and defense a dozen years ago, it may be able to pull off similarly devastating attacks today.
Members of Congress reluctant to read the full report ought to remember that the 9/11 assault missed its fourth target: them.
Paul Sperry is a Hoover Institution media fellow and author of “Infiltration” and “Muslim Mafia.”
Saudi Man Funded Indonesian Militants
Published: February 24, 2010
JAKARTA (Reuters) - A Saudi man gave funds to an Indonesian militant group which carried out suicide bomb attacks on two luxury hotels in Jakarta last year, prosecutors told an Indonesian court Wednesday.
The prosecutors accused Al Khelaiw Ali Abdullah, 55, of transferring 54 million rupiah (3,800 pounds) to a person who later passed on some of the money to a member of a regional militant group led by Noordin Mohammad Top.
They said Top and his group met and agreed to attack the JW Marriott and Ritz Carlton hotels in Jakarta after receiving the money. Top was killed in a police shoot-out in September.
Abdullah says he is not guilty.
Top headed a violent wing of regional militant group Jemaah Islamiah. The group carried out simultaneous bomb attacks on the two luxury hotels in July 2009, killing 11 people and wounding 53, as well as several other bombings in Indonesia.
"The defendant has given assistance to perpetrators of terror attacks by giving or lending money or other assets," prosecutor Totok Bambang said in an indictment, which was translated into Arabic for Abdullah.
Abdullah faces between three and 15 years in jail.
"I am not a terrorist. I don't like violence," he told reporters before the trial.
Abdullah said he had never given any money to Syaifudin Zuhri, also known as Syaifudin Djaelani, one of the main organisers of the hotel attacks. He was killed in a raid in October.
"I am an old man and I am very sick. I came to Indonesia to find a cure for my sickness and to relax," Abdullah said in a written statement given to reporters before the trial.
Abdullah had made two trips to Indonesia since November 2008, prosecutors said. During those visits he met Dani Dwi Permana, the suicide bomber who detonated a bomb at the JW Marriott hotel, they said.
Jemaah Islamiah, which wants to create an Islamic state linking Muslim communities in Southeast Asia, was responsible for a string of attacks that killed hundreds of civilians, including the bombing of the Australian embassy in Jakarta in 2004, and of the JW Marriott Hotel in Jakarta in 2003.
Tuesday, prosecutors told the court that an Indonesian man, Muhammad Jibriel Abdul Rahman, had raised money in Saudi Arabia to finance the 2009 hotel attacks.
Tito Karnavian, head of Indonesia's elite anti-terror detachment 88, told Reuters recently the possible flow of money from the Middle East to Indonesia to finance those bombings showed the connection between Indonesia's radical network and al Qaeda had been revived.
Police have previously said al Qaeda helped fund the 2002 Bali bombings and the 2003 JW Marriott bombing in Jakarta, which killed scores of Indonesians and Westerners.
Saudi Arabia defends Islam as complement to human rights
February 7, 2009
GENEVA (AFP) — Saudi Arabia told the UN Human Rights Council on Friday that its status as an Islamic state should safeguard fundamental rights rather than fuel abuse, as it faced western calls for action to stop violations.
Zeid Al-Hussein, vice president of the country's three-year-old human rights commission, acknowledged there were violations in the country, often as a result of "individual practices" rooted in its tribal history.
But he insisted that Islamic law and practices should complement the legal standards the United Nations upholds.
"I wish to emphasize that -- and I weigh my words very carefully -- religious particularities, as correctly viewed in Islam, supplement rather than detract from international human rights standards," he told the Council.
"I am aware that, in most Islamic countries, individual practices do not always reflect the true essence of Islam and much remains to be done to ensure that human rights are promoted and protected," Hussein said.
Saudi Arabia's human rights record was being examined by the body's 47 member states under its first 'universal periodic review.'
"We acknowledge that there are some human rights violations attributable to individual practices," Hussein said.
"Many of these violations fall within the context of domestic violence, to which confusion between the true Islamic Shari'a and customs and traditions is a contributing factor," he added.
Human rights groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have been scathing of Saudi Arabia, highlighting its uneven application of executions -- 102 in 2008 and 153 in 2007 -- and strict Islamic policies.
Those include the way women are subject to a male guardian's permission to travel, work and marry.
They also complain of abuse of women, torture, widespread arbitrary arrest, indefinite detention without charge or trial and jailing of political activists in the Gulf nation.
Several countries, including Britain, Canada and Norway, recommended that Saudi Arabia abolish the family guardianship system and do more to prevent customs and traditions from harming women and children.
"While progress has been made, particularly in recent years, Saudi Arabia has more to do to ensure that its legal framework and domestic implementation meets international human rights standards," a British delegate told the Council.
Switzerland and Italy called for a moratorium on the death penalty, while several countries criticised corporal punishment.
Hussein said the government was "constantly" trying to prevent domestic violence, control by husbands on their wives and children, pointed to a range of measures introduced over the past two years.
"In actual practice, the concept of guardianship, for example, often loses its connotation of responsibility and care, which are transformed into domination and coercion," he acknowledged.
Hussein also accepted that the kingdom was "not exempt" from some forms of human trafficking, including financial pressures on migrant workers and the smuggling of children to be beggars, and highlighted forthcoming legislation designed to eradicate it.
Human rights groups say that domestic workers especially are subjected to abuse and exploitation that is sometimes tantamount to slavery.
Despite guarantees for freedom of belief, non-Muslim religious worship could only be free within private homes in the Kingdom, Hussein said, largely due to the "sensitivities" that arose with its status as host to Islam's holiest shrines at Mecca and Medina.
"There is no point in discussing this issue from the standpoint of positive man-made law, since religious belief stems from the heart and not from rational proof," he explained.
"This our belief, which we expect others to respect and not contest, in the same way as we respect and do not contest their beliefs," he added.
H. R. 2037
To halt Saudi support for institutions that fund, train, incite, encourage, or in any other way aid and abet terrorism, and to secure full Saudi cooperation in the investigation of terrorist incidents, and for other purposes.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
April 28, 2005
WEINER (for himself, Mr. FERGUSON, Mr. ANDREWS, Mr. BAKER, Ms. BERKLEY, Mr.
BURTON of Indiana, Mr. CARDOZA, Mr. CROWLEY, Mr. GARRETT of New Jersey, Mr.
GRIJALVA, Mr. HASTINGS of Florida, Mr. ISRAEL, Mrs. JO ANN DAVIS of Virginia,
Mrs. LOWEY, Mrs. MALONEY, Mrs. MCCARTHY, Ms. MCCOLLUM of Minnesota, Mr. MCNULTY,
Mr. MEEHAN, Mr. NADLER, Mr. ROTHMAN, and Mrs. TAUSCHER) introduced the following
bill; which was referred to the Committee on International Relations
To halt Saudi support for institutions that fund, train, incite, encourage, or in any other way aid and abet terrorism, and to secure full Saudi cooperation in the investigation of terrorist incidents, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
(a) Short Title- This Act may be cited as the `Saudi Arabia Accountability Act of 2005'.
SEC. 2. FINDINGS.
Congress makes the following findings:
(1) United Nations Security Council Resolution 1373 (2001) mandates that all states `refrain from providing any form of support, active or passive, to entities or persons involved in terrorist acts', take `the necessary steps to prevent the commission of terrorist acts', and `deny safe haven to those who finance, plan, support, or commit terrorist acts'.
(2) The Council on Foreign Relations concluded in an October 2002 report on terrorist financing that `[f]or years, individuals and charities based in Saudi Arabia have been the most important source of funds for al-Qaeda, and for years, Saudi officials have turned a blind eye to this problem'.
(3) In a June 2004 report entitled `Update on the Global Campaign Against Terrorist Financing', the Council on Foreign Relations reported that `[w]e find it regrettable and unacceptable that since September 11, 2001, we know of not a single Saudi donor of funds to terrorist groups who has been publicly punished'.
(4) According to the final report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, when asked where terrorist leaders would likely locate their bases, military officers and government officials repeatedly listed Saudi Arabia as a prime location.
(5) A report released on January 28, 2005 by Freedom House's Center for Religious Freedom found that Saudi Arabia is the state most responsible for the propagation of material promoting hatred, intolerance, and violence within United States mosques and Islamic centers, and that these publications are often official publications of a Saudi ministry or distributed by the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington, D.C.
(6) During a July 2003 hearing on terrorism before the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology and Homeland Security of the Committee on the Judiciary of the Senate, David Aufhauser, General Counsel of the Treasury Department, stated that Saudi Arabia is, in many cases, the `epicenter' of financing for terrorism.
(7) The New York Times, citing United States and Israeli sources, reported on September 17, 2003, that at least 50 percent of the current operating budget of Hamas comes from `people in Saudi Arabia'.
(8) The Middle East Media Research Institute concluded in a July 3, 2003, report on Saudi support for Palestinian terrorists that `for decades, the royal family of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been the main financial supporter of Palestinian groups fighting Israel'. The report notes specifically that Saudi-sponsored organizations have funneled over $4,000,000,000 to finance the Palestinian intifada that began in September 2000.
(9) A joint committee of the Select Committee on Intelligence of the Senate and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence of the House of Representatives issued a report on July 24, 2003, that quotes various United States Government personnel who complained that the Saudis refused to cooperate in the investigation of Osama bin Laden and his network both before and after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
(10) After the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers housing complex at Dahran, Saudi Arabia, which killed 19 United States Air Force personnel and wounded approximately 400 people, the Government of Saudi Arabia refused to allow United States officials to question individuals held in detention by the Saudis in connection with the attack.
(11) As recounted by counterterrorism officials in a September 2003 issue of Time Magazine, Saudi Arabia denied United States officials access to several suspects in the custody of the Government of Saudi Arabia, including a Saudi Arabian citizen in detention for months who had knowledge of extensive plans to inject poison gas in the New York City subway system.
(12) The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom has reported that Saudi Arabian Government-funded textbooks used both in Saudi Arabia and also in North American Islamic schools and mosques have been found to encourage incitement to violence against non-Muslims.
(13) There are indications that, since the May 12, 2003, suicide bombings in Riyadh, the Government of Saudi Arabia is making a more serious effort to combat terrorism.
SEC. 3. SENSE OF CONGRESS.
It is the sense of Congress that--
(1) it is imperative that the Government of Saudi Arabia immediately and unconditionally--
(A) provide complete, unrestricted, and unobstructed cooperation to the United States, including the unsolicited sharing of relevant intelligence in a consistent and timely fashion, in the investigation of groups and individuals that are suspected of financing, supporting, plotting, or committing an act of terror against United States citizens anywhere in the world, including within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia;
(B) permanently close all charities, schools, or other organizations or institutions in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that fund, train, incite, encourage, or in any other way aid and abet terrorism anywhere in the world (hereafter in this Act referred to as `Saudi-based terror organizations'), including by means of providing support for the families of individuals who have committed acts of terrorism;
(C) end funding or other support by the Government of Saudi Arabia for charities, schools, and any other organizations or institutions outside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that train, incite, encourage, or in any other way aid and abet terrorism anywhere in the world (hereafter in this Act referred to as `offshore terror organizations'), including by means of providing support for the families of individuals who have committed acts of terrorism; and
(D) block all funding from private Saudi citizens and entities to any Saudi-based terror organization or offshore terrorism organization; and
(2) the President, in deciding whether to make the certification under section 4, should judge whether the Government of Saudi Arabia has continued and sufficiently expanded the efforts to combat terrorism that it redoubled after the May 12, 2003, bombing in Riyadh.
SEC. 4. SANCTIONS.
(a) Restrictions on Exports and Diplomatic Travel- Unless the President makes the certification described in subsection (c), the President shall take the following actions:
(1) Prohibit the export to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and prohibit the issuance of a license for the export to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, of--
(A) any defense articles or defense services on the United States Munitions List under section 38 of the Arms Export Control Act (22 U.S.C. 2778) for which special export controls are warranted under such Act (22 U.S.C. 2751 et seq.); and
(B) any item identified on the Commerce Control List maintained under part 774 of title 15, Code of Federal Regulations.
(2) Restrict travel of Saudi diplomats assigned to Washington, District of Columbia, New York, New York, the Saudi Consulate General in Houston, or the Saudi Consulate in Los Angeles to a 25-mile radius of Washington, District of Columbia, New York, New York, the Saudi Consulate General in Houston, or the Saudi Consulate in Los Angeles, respectively.
(b) Waiver- The President may waive the application of subsection (a) if the President--
(1) determines that it is in the national security interest of the United States to do so; and
(2) submits to the appropriate congressional committees a report that contains the reasons for such determination.
(c) Certification- The President shall transmit to the appropriate congressional committees a certification of any determination made by the President after the date of the enactment of this Act that the Government of Saudi Arabia--
(1) is fully cooperating with the United States in investigating and preventing terrorist attacks;
(2) has permanently closed all Saudi-based terror organizations;
(3) has ended any funding or other support by the Government of Saudi Arabia for any offshore terror organization; and
(4) has exercised maximum efforts to block all funding from private Saudi citizens and entities to offshore terrorist organizations.
SEC. 5. REPORT.
(a) Requirement for Report- Not later than 6 months after the date of the enactment of this Act, and every 12 months thereafter until the President makes the certification described in section 4(c), the Secretary of State shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report on the progress made by the Government of Saudi Arabia toward meeting the conditions described in paragraphs (1) through (4) of section 4(c).
(b) Form- The report submitted under subsection (a) shall be in unclassified form but may include a classified annex.
SEC. 6. APPROPRIATE CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEES DEFINED.
In this Act, the term `appropriate congressional committees' means the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate and the Committee on International Relations of the House of Representatives.
Despite Saudi assurances, their
religious textbooks still denigrate other faiths and cultures
These schoolbooks divide the world into believers — followers of Wahhabi Islam — and unbelievers
June 3, 2006
NINA SHEA - WASHINGTON POST
Saudi Arabia's public schools have long been cited for demonizing the West as well as Christians, Jews and other unbelievers. But after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 — in which 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudis — that was all supposed to change.
A 2004 Saudi royal study group recognized the need for reform after finding that the kingdom's religious studies curriculum "encourages violence toward others, and misguides the pupils into believing that in order to safeguard their own religion, they must violently repress and even physically eliminate the `other.'" Since then, the Saudi government has claimed repeatedly that it has revised its educational texts.
Prince Turki al-Faisal, the Saudi ambassador to the United States, has worked aggressively to spread this message. "The kingdom has reviewed all of its education practices and materials, and has removed any element that is inconsistent with the needs of a modern education," he said on a recent speaking tour. "Not only have we eliminated what might be perceived as intolerance from old textbooks that were in our system, we have implemented a comprehensive internal revision and modernization plan." The Saudi government even took out a full-page ad in the New Republic in December to tout its success at "having modernized our school curricula to better prepare our children for the challenges of tomorrow." A year ago, an embassy spokesman declared: "We have reviewed our educational curriculums. We have removed materials that are inciteful or intolerant towards people of other faiths." The embassy is also distributing a review on curriculum reform to show the textbooks have been moderated.
The problem is: These claims are not true.
A review of a sample of official Saudi textbooks for Islamic studies used during the current academic year reveals that, despite the Saudi government's statements to the contrary, an ideology of hatred toward Christians and Jews and Muslims who do not follow Wahhabi doctrine remains in this area of the public school system. The texts teach a dualistic vision, dividing the world into true believers of Islam (the "monotheists") and unbelievers (the "polytheists" and "infidels"). This indoctrination begins in a Grade 1 text and is reinforced and expanded each year, culminating in a Grade 12 text instructing students that their religious obligation includes waging jihad against the infidel to "spread the faith."
Ali al-Ahmed, a Saudi dissident who runs the Washington-based Institute for Gulf Affairs, gave Freedom House a dozen of the current, purportedly cleaned-up Saudi Ministry of Education religion textbooks (Freedom House is a U.S. non-governmental organization that monitors political rights and civil liberties worldwide). The copies he obtained were not provided by the government, but by teachers, administrators and families with children in Saudi schools, who slipped them out one by one.
Some of the sources are Shiites and Sunnis from non-Wahhabi traditions — people condemned as "polytheistic" or "deviant" or "bad" in these texts — while others are simply frustrated that these books do so little to prepare young students for the modern world. Freedom House had the texts translated separately by two independent, fluent Arabic speakers.
Religion is the foundation of the Saudi state's political ideology; it is also a key area of Saudi education in which students are taught the interpretation of Islam known as Wahhabism (a movement founded 250 years ago by Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab) that is reflected in these textbooks.
Scholars estimate that within the Saudi public school curriculum, Islamic studies make up a quarter to a third of students' weekly classroom hours in lower and middle school, plus several hours each week in high school. Educators who question or dissent from the official interpretation of Islam can face severe reprisals. In November 2005, a Saudi teacher who made positive statements about Jews and the New Testament was fired and sentenced to 750 lashes and a prison term. (He was eventually pardoned after public and international protests.)
The Saudi public school system totals 25,000 schools, educating about 5 million students. In addition, Saudi Arabia runs academies in 19 world capitals that use some of these same religious texts.
Saudi Arabia also distributes its religion texts worldwide to numerous Islamic schools and madrassas that it does not directly operate. Undeterred by Wahhabism's historically fringe status, Saudi Arabia is trying to assert itself as the world's authoritative voice on Islam — a sort of "Vatican" for Islam, as several Saudi officials have stated — and these textbooks are integral to this effort. As the report of the commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks observed, "Even in affluent countries, Saudi-funded Wahhabi schools are often the only Islamic schools" available.
Education is at the core of the debate over freedom in the Muslim world. Osama bin Laden understands this well; in a recent audiotape he railed against those who would "interfere with school curricula."
The following passages — drawn from the same set of Saudi texts proudly cited in the new 74-page review of curriculum reform now being distributed by the Saudi Embassy — are shaping the views of the next generation of Saudis and Muslims worldwide. Unchanged, they will only harden and deepen hatred, intolerance and violence toward other faiths and cultures. Is this what Riyadh calls reform?
"Every religion other than Islam is false."
"Fill in the blanks with the appropriate words (Islam, hellfire): Every religion other than ______________ is false. Whoever dies outside of Islam enters ____________."
"True belief means . . . that you hate the polytheists and infidels but do not treat them unjustly."
"Whoever obeys the Prophet and accepts the oneness of God cannot maintain a loyal friendship with those who oppose God and His Prophet, even if they are his closest relatives."
"It is forbidden for a Muslim to be a loyal friend to someone who does not believe in God and His Prophet, or someone who fights the religion of Islam."
"A Muslim, even if he lives far away, is your brother in religion. Someone who opposes God, even if he is your brother by family tie, is your enemy in religion."
"Just as Muslims were successful in the past when they came together in a sincere endeavour to evict the Christian crusaders from Palestine, so will the Arabs and Muslims emerge victorious, God willing, against the Jews and their allies if they stand together and fight a true jihad for God, for this is within God's power."
"As cited in Ibn Abbas: The apes are Jews, the people of the Sabbath; while the swine are the Christians, the infidels of the communion of Jesus."
"God told His Prophet, Muhammad, about the Jews, who learned from parts of God's book (the Torah and the Gospels) that God alone is worthy of worship. Despite this, they espouse falsehood through idol-worship, soothsaying, and sorcery. In doing so, they obey the devil. They prefer the people of falsehood to the people of the truth out of envy and hostility. This earns them condemnation and is a warning to us not to do as they did."
"They are the Jews, whom God has cursed and with whom He is so angry that He will never again be satisfied (with them)."
"Some of the people of the Sabbath were punished by being turned into apes and swine. Some of them were made to worship the devil, and not God, through consecration, sacrifice, prayer, appeals for help, and other types of worship. Some of the Jews worship the devil. Likewise, some members of this nation worship the devil, and not God."
"Activity: The student writes a composition on the danger of imitating the infidels."
"The clash between this (Muslim) community (umma) and the Jews and Christians has endured, and it will continue as long as God wills."
"It is part of God's wisdom that the struggle between the Muslim and the Jews should continue until the hour (of judgment)."
"Muslims will triumph because they are right. He who is right is always victorious, even if most people are against him."
The Grade 10 text on jurisprudence teaches that life for non-Muslims (as well as women, and, by implication, slaves) is worth a fraction of that of a "free Muslim male." Blood money is retribution paid to the victim or his heirs for murder or injury:
"Blood money for a free infidel. (Its quantity) is half of the blood money for a male Muslim, whether or not he is `of the book' or not `of the book' (such as a pagan, Zoroastrian, etc.).
"Blood money for a woman: Half of the blood money for a man, in accordance with his religion. The blood money for a Muslim woman is half of the blood money for a male Muslim, and the blood money for an infidel woman is half of the blood money for a male infidel."
"The greeting `Peace be upon you' is specifically for believers. It cannot be said to others."
"If one comes to a place where there is a mixture of Muslims and infidels, one should offer a greeting intended for the Muslims."
"Do not yield to them (Christians and Jews) on a narrow road out of honour and respect."
"Jihad in the path of God — which consists of battling against unbelief, oppression, injustice, and those who perpetrate it — is the summit of Islam. This religion arose through jihad and through jihad was its banner raised high. It is one of the noblest acts, which brings one closer to God, and one of the most magnificent acts of obedience to God."
Nina Shea is director of the Center for Religious Freedom at Freedom House
Report Says Saudi Textbooks Teach Intolerance and Violence
25 May 2006
A private research group in Washington says religious textbooks in Saudi Arabia, despite revisions, continue to teach intolerance and violence.
The Washington-based Center for Religious Freedom and the Institute for Gulf Affairs recently analyzed 12 new textbooks the Saudi government says were purged of all intolerant language.
In its study, entitled Saudi Arabia's Curriculum of Intolerance, the center examined textbooks used in Saudi schools and in Muslim academies in 19 capitals around the world.
The report criticizes what it calls the "Saudi ideology of hatred," saying supposedly revised textbooks still teach that Christians, Jews and other Muslims are "enemies." It says the textbooks condemn all those who do not practice the strict Saudi state-supported Wahhabi sect of Islam.
At a recent conference at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, the head of the Center for Religious Freedom, Nina Shea, described what even the youngest students are being taught.
"It is an ideological curriculum of intolerance against the unbeliever," said Nina Shea. "This includes explicitly Christians, Jews, and other Muslims are all demonized. They assert that peaceful co-existence is not possible. The first grade text condemns Christians and Jews explicitly to hellfire, so it implants the idea that they are evil. It goes against the Islamic teachings that these are heavenly religions. And again, keep in mind this is not religion talking, this is the government of Saudi Arabia."
Professor Ahmed Ibn Saidfuddin of the Imam Ibn Saud University in Riyadh acknowledges the curriculum of Saudi schools does need changing, and he insists it is being done. But he rejects the accusation that what is taught in Saudi schools condones terrorism.
"Of course, we have to be very careful because we are not changing religion here, we are not changing our view of how important Islam is for us," said Ahmed Ibn Saidfuddin. "What we are doing is at least removing, reinterpreting some of the things that might be misinterpreted by extremists. But these curricula have always been in existence for many centuries. They did not produce terrorists."
The Saudi Ambassador to the United States, Prince Turki Al-Faisal, also disagrees, saying the Freedom Center report does not accurately describe what is happening in Saudi Arabia. He says the government has worked diligently over the past five years to revise not only textbooks, but to introduce new teaching methods.
But Saudi dissident and scholar Ali Al-Ahmed of the Institute for Gulf Affairs disagrees. He says there is a link between the Saudi teachings and terrorism.
"The Saudi education system is an often ignored front on the war on terror," said Ali Al-Ahmed. "The Saudi 9/11 hijackers were a product of this education system. As children they were indoctrinated with this curriculum that is full of hate and hostility toward the other. So it was not a hard thing for them to be converted al-Qaida terrorists in a matter of months. These textbooks groom millions of children into hateful, angry, and misinformed youths that are just one step away from being the perfect terrorist."
Fifteen of the 19 hijackers in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States were from Saudi Arabia.
Ahmed says reforming the Saudi education system must be an integral part of the war on terrorism.
Saudi Arabia's Export Of Radical Islam
The Family Security Foundation, Inc
Date: January 18, 2007
Even though in both America and Britain there are loud cries of denial from Muslim leaders, FSM Contributing Editor Adrian Morgan recounts how an undercover reporter has unveiled the consistent Saudi-exported hate-mongering and incitement in British mosques. You think this doesn't happen in American mosques? Think again.
Saudi Arabia's Export Of Radical Islam - Part Three
On Monday, January 15, UK television aired a documentary on Channel Four, entitled "Undercover Mosques". This program has caused something of a seismic shock, with reactions to its broadcast being felt in Canada, Pakistan and Israel. It has also led to government reaction in Australia.
I have uploaded a small QuickTime version of the documentary, which can be accessed here. It is 106 mb in size. Alternatively, versions can be found on HotAir and YouTube and HERE (Flash Player required). The documentary needs to be seen in its entirety.
Channel Four sent an undercover reporter to the Green Lane mosque in Birmingham, where he filmed secretly for four months. This mosque is the headquarters of the Markazi Jamiat Ahl-e-Hadith. The preachers at this mosque were shown inciting hate against "unbelievers", called disparagingly "Kuffaar" or "kaffir".
This of itself should raise concern, but the Markaz Jamiat Ahl-e-Hadith has 41 other mosques and faith schools under its influence. More disturbingly still, it is a registered charity, listed by the Charities Commission (Number 272001), and has been in existence as a charity since January 3, 1976. The Charities Commission has a lax interpretation of what constitutes a "charity", as I demonstrated earlier in the case of Interpal. Ahl-e-Hadith claims on the Charities Commission register that its objective is "the advancement of the religion of Islam", though its "area of benefit" is not defined.
The Channel Four documentary showed that the Green Lane mosque's brand of Islam is pure Wahhabism. Via video links, members of the mosque sometimes communicate directly with the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia. In one of these sessions, the Grand Mufti is asked by a Birmingham believer for a fatwa about understanding between religions.
The Grand Mufti is asked: "Some people think we shouldn't call Christians and Jews Kuffar and we should establish good relations with them. What's your answer to this?"
The Mufti replies: "This is not true. Jews and Christians who do not follow the Prophet Mohammed are Kuffar. They will go to Hell... Anyone who helps or defends an apostate, or a pagan, or an atheist, or anyone who attacks Islam, will be cursed."
The Grand Mufti is Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh. He has condemned the 9/11 attacks, but is supportive of cyber-terrorism. He has issued a fatwa approving the hacking of websites which attacked Islam, saying "if you are unable to respond to it, and you wanted to destroy it and you have the ability to do so, its ok to destroy it because it is an evil website."
Al-Sheikh is the highest religious authority in Saudi Arabia, Chairman of the Senior Ulema, and also a member of the Saudi government. He objects to men and women mingling ("khalwat") and believes women should always be veiled. On the Channel Four documentary, the Grand Mufti is shown on a Saudi TV broadcast from March 2006 saying: "Tell your children to pray when they are seven, and hit them when they are ten".
The Green Lanes mosque frequently has guest preachers, and one of these is a man calling himself "Abu Usama". This man is a black American, born in 1964. Formerly from Paterson, New Jersey he became a convert to Islam in 1986. He now, according to one source, lives in Queens, New York. He was educated at the Islamic University of Madina, which he attended for eight years, graduating from the College of Da'wah and Usool-ad-Din. His sermons can be found on the internet, and they are not messages of peace and harmony.
Usama, whose full name is Abu Usaamah Adh-Dhahabi, has worked as a translator, and has been an imam at various mosques in the United States. His audio cassettes, which are of poor technical standard, can be found in various archives on the internet. In his native America, Abu Usama has not been making many appearances since 2004, when he fell foul of the Salafi Muslim community. An interesting condemnation by the Salafist Da`ee Abu Awais Abdullah Alee from Philadelphia can be found here or here (MP3 format).
Usama's audio sermons still seem popular amongst the members of the Muslim Students Associations at various US universities and colleges, such as that at Binghamton University, State University of New York. Here, students can listen to his tape: "If you are visited by the FBI".
In Britain, Usama has a ready audience. He has given talks at schools and universities. He is shown in the Channel Four documentary at Green Lane mosque, saying: "No-one loves the kuffaar, no-one loves the kuffaar, not a single person here from the Muslims loves the kuffaar, whether those kuffaar are from the UK or the US. We love the people of Islam and we hate the people of kufr, we hate the kuffaar."
He describes all non-Muslims as liars, stating: "I don’t believe them, because they are kuffaar, lying is part of their religion. They are liars, they are terrorists themselves, liars, they will come before the people and talk and they are lying, you can’t believe them, these are pathological liars ."
On terrorists, Usama states on a Green Lane mosque internet broadcast: "I don’t agree with those individuals, but at the same time they are closer to me than those criminals of the kuffaar. He’s better than a million George Bushes, Osama Bin Laden, and he’s better than a thousand Tony Blairs, because he’s a Muslim."
In another internet broadcast, Usama says: "Allah has created the woman, even if she gains a PhD, deficient. Her intellect is incomplete. Deficient. She may be suffering from hormones…that will make her emotional. It takes two witnesses of the woman to equal the one witness of the man."
It is strange that Usama allows himself to appear in such internet broadcasts and to appear on video, as I found an internet sermon in which he states that it is expressly forbidden to take photographs, or even to draw, any human being, and even an animal.
He is heard on the documentary saying: "Take that homosexual man and throw him off the mountain." His DVDs, in which his face appears are equally uncompromising. In one, entitled "The Major Sins", from 2005, he says: "Whoever changes his religion from Islam to anything else - kill him in the Islamic state."
The hate-filled sermons preached at Green Lane mosque were often attended by children, and in one section of footage, a man called Sheikh Al-Jibali states: "What is sad to see is that for many parents they send their children to the kuffaar school. They allow them to mix with the kuffaar, so that the lifestyle and the beliefs of the kuffaar become deep rooted in the hearts of the kids."
Another preacher at Green Lane mosque is Dr Ijaz Mian, who told a meeting within the mosque: "We have to rule ourselves and we have to rule the others."
The Markazi Jamiat Ahl-e-Hadith, headquartered at Green Lane mosque, has already been exposed for its segregationist and offensive outlook. On Sunday, August 21, 2005, the BBC showed a documentary on its Panorama strand "A Question of Leadership", made by journalist John Ware. In this he examined the Muslim Council of Britain. At that time, the website of the group urged Muslims to "be different from Jews and Christians" whose "ways are based on sick or deviant views".
John Ware confronted Iqbal Sacranie with this information. Ahl-e-Hadith was then, and still is, affiliated to the Muslim Council of Britain. Sacranie said: "I'm not a member of Ahle Hadith but it's a membership that we have, it's diversity that exists in the community, having different views on life."
The current head of the Muslim Council of Britain, Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari, has condemned Channel Four, saying the documentary "mischievously tried to prove that key Muslim institutions are teaching exact opposite to Islam commanding Muslims to deal positively and peacefully with those around us." He said the producers were "resorting to the dishonest tactic of selectively quoting from some recorded speeches for purpose of misrepresentation. Their aim is to attach guilt by association. This continuing demonization of British Muslims and risible attempt at promoting sectarianism among British Muslims will be firmly rejected."
Bari, echoing the complacency of his predecessor, is refusing to accept that there is a problem in one of the 400 groups that the MCB claims to represent. He would rather blame non-Muslims for exposing the words coming from Muslim mouths.
The most "devout" worshippers at Green Lane are being offered scholarships to study at Islamic universities in Saudi Arabia. The aim, states Dr Irfan Al Alawi, a UK academic, is to create a new generation of Muslim imams and teachers.
Another preacher at the Green Lane mosque is Dr Bilal Phillips, who was born in Jamaica and became a convert. A list of his lectures can be found on his website. He was shown at Green Lane, saying that it is permissible to marry off a girl before puberty. The Prophet Mohammed became betrothed to a six year old girl, Aisha, when he was in his 50s. He consummated the marriage when Aisha was nine, according to the Hadiths of Tabari and Bukhari.
On the documentary, Phillips states: "The Prophet Mohammed practically outlined the rules regarding marriage prior to puberty, with his practice he clarified what is permissible and that is why we shouldn’t have any issues about an older man marrying a younger woman, which is looked down upon by this society today, but we know that Prophet Mohammed practiced it, it wasn’t abuse or exploitation, it was marriage."
It was child abuse and would be classed now as statutory rape, no matter how Phillips dresses it up. Phillips preaches in both the United States and Britain.
The documentary also visited the giant mosque in Regents Park, north London. This mosque had been built with a donation of £2 million ($3.95 million) from the Saudi monarchy. In the 1990s, the Saudis paid for its educational wing to be built. The mosque houses a bookstore, which is run by a British company, Dar-us Salam, linked to a company of the same name based in Saudi Arabia.
Here, videos of a jihadist nature were on sale. These included videos where one preacher, Feiz Mohammed, a former boxer, makes sermons. In the documentary, this Saudi-educated imam is shown saying: "The peak, the pinnacle, the crest, the highest point, the pivot, the summit, of Islam, is jihad. Today, many parents, they prevent their children from attending lessons, why? They fear they might create or place in their hearts, the love, just a bit of love, of sacrificing their lives for Allah. We want to have children and offer them as soldiers defending Islam. Teach them this, there is nothing more beloved to me than wanting to die as a mujahid, put in their soft tender hearts the zeal of jihad and the love of martyrdom."
This was in a clip taken from a DVD from the "Death Series", by Islam Productions. This cleric, of Lebanese origin, is based in Australia. Long before Australia's Mufti, Taj Din al-Hilaly, made his comments in September 2006 that women who were not covered by veils invited rape, Feiz Mohammed was making similar remarks.
On March 18 2005, at Bankstown Town Hall in Sydney, he said at a lecture on "Death": "A victim of rape every minute somewhere in the world. Why? No one to blame but herself. She displayed her beauty to the entire world... Strapless, backless, sleeveless, nothing but satanic skirts, slit skirts, translucent blouses, miniskirts, tight jeans: all this to tease man and appeal to his carnal nature."
Feiz Mohammed said: "Would you put this sheep that you adore in the middle of hungry wolves? No . . . It would be devoured. It's the same situation here. You're putting this precious girl in front of lustful, satanic eyes of hungry wolves. What is the consequence? Catastrophic devastation, sexual harassment, perversion, promiscuity."
Feiz Mohammed is head of the Global Islamic Youth Center in Liverpool, Sydney, which has about 4,000 followers, mostly of Lebanese Muslim origin. His videos, which were also on sale outside Green Lane mosque in Birmingham, have been found to be on sale in Australia, and there has been strong reaction.
He fled from Australia to Lebanon in November 2005, after 23 people were arrested on November 8 in Melbourne and Sydney on terror charges. The individuals were accused of plotting an attack upon a nuclear reactor in Lucas Heights in Sydney.
As a result of the revelations in the Channel Four documentary, the leader of the opposition in Australia, Kevin Rudd, has said that Feiz Mohammed should not return to the country. He has said that the Saudi-educated preachers' comments on the DVDs "add up to an incitement to terrorism." Kevin Andrews, acting Attorney-General, says the DVDs are "importation of hatred" and says an investigation has been launched. The premier of New South Wales, Morris Iemma, has asked the Attorney-General, Philip Ruddock, to have the DVDs withdrawn from sale in Australia, and the federal police are also investigating the matter.
The DVDs of Feiz Mohammed and other radical preachers were pointed out to the management of the Regents Park Mosque, and they were subsequently withdrawn from its bookshop to be reviewed.
The Director General of Regents Park Mosque is Saudi-born Dr Ahmed al-Dubayan. When he took over as director of the mosque and Islamic Cultural Center (ICC), he was granted diplomatic status by the Saudi government. This privilege has been granted to every head of the mosque since it began, even if they were not Saudi nationals.
This diplomatic status came in handy for Dubayan, when he was granted diplomatic immunity during a sexual discrimination case launched by his personal secretary, a woman called Mrs Nahid Mahmoud. She had been accused of "witchcraft" and "black magic". She won her case on September 12, 2006.
Dubayan told Channel Four: "It is false and misleading to make the sweeping generalization that the teachings from Saudi Arabia promote extremism, and it is also false to assert that the ICC is dominated by the influence of such teachings.
The Saudi government told the program makers: "The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is an Islamic state, governed in accordance with the teachings of the Shari'a. Islam is a religion of tolerance and respects the rights of all people, regardless of gender, age, religion or race. Islam is a religion without national borders. There is no such thing as "the religious establishment" in Saudi Arabia. Here, as in every society, one can find extremists, as well as conservatives and moderates. Saudi Arabia does not support radical or extreme ideology but strongly condemns all those seeking to politicize Islam, preaching, inciting or fostering hatred and violence, or legitimizing terrorist activities. To this end, many imams have been re-educated in recent years and a misguided few have been dismissed."
Another preacher featured on the DVDs on sale at Green Lane mosque, and who is based in Britain, is an American convert, Sheikh Khalid Yasin. He lectures around the world. In the US, he appeared last year at Penn State university, a guest of the Muslim Students Association.
Yasin, who also studied in Saudi Arabia, has said on the DVD "Changing the World through Da'wah": We don't need to go to the Christians or the Jews, debating with them about the filth which they believe. We Muslims have been ordered to do brainwashing!! Because the kuffaar - they are doing brain defiling...... You are watching the kaffir TVs, and your wife is watching it right now, and your children are watching it right now, and they are being polluted, and they are being penetrated, and they are being infected, so that your children and you go out as Muslims and you come back to the house as kaffirs."
On a DVD called "Some Advice to the Muslim women" he states: "This whole delusion of the equality of women is a bunch of foolishness. There's no such thing."
On another, entitled "Jihad or Terrorism" he says: "Now missionaries, from the World Health Organization, and Christian - and Christian groups, went into Africa and inoculated people, for diptheria, malaria, yellow fever, and they put in the medicine, the AIDS virus. Which is a conspiracy!"
Another mosque was featured in the documentary, based in Sparkbrook, Birmingham. Here, a deputy headmaster of an Islamic high school, Darul Uloom in Birmingham, told a conference that he disagreed with the word "democracy". He stated: "They should call it... kuffrocracy, that's their plan. It's the hidden cancerous aim of these people." The teacher has since been removed from his post at the school.
At a mosque in Derby, also run by the Markazi Jamiat Ahl-e-Hadith who govern Green Lane mosque. Here, a traveling preacher called Dr Ijaz Mian praises the Saudi religious police, or muttawa, as they can imprison people for not praying. Mian studied Islam for six years at the Ibn Saud University in Riyadh, where Abdullah el-Faisal also studied. He says he wants religious police in Britain. He states that Muslims should not accept democracy, and claims that Muslims will one day take over Britain.
The Sparkbrook mosque is run by the UK Islamic Mission (UKIM), a group described by Tony Blair as "extremely valued by the government particularly for its multi-faith and multicultural activities". The UKIM, which runs Sparkbrook, works with the police, yet one speaker at the mosque is shown saying that Muslims should not work with police. In the documentary, a preacher at this Mosque is shown to be praising the Taliban.
The imam states: "There was an individual who was killed in Afghanistan recently. A Muslim name, he came from a Pakistani family. Do you know what they had written in a tabloid newspaper? 'Hero of Islam'. 'Hero of Islam' who went into Muslim Afghanistan to kill Muslims. Why? Because their crime is implementing Islam. The 'Hero of Islam' is the one who separated his head from his shoulders."
The soldier referred to was 24-year old Lance Corporal Jabron Hashmi, who was killed in Helmand province in 2006. When Anjem Choudary, former UK leader of Al-Muhajiroun, wrote a polemic against this soldier on his website, Lance Corporal Hashmi's family were deeply upset. The soldier’s brother Zeeshar had said: "You can be proud to be Muslim and British - the two don't have to be separate."
For many Muslims subjected to Saudi Arabian teachings, it appears that this notion is completely alien.
During our first two months in Jeddah, Faye and I relished our new and luxurious lifestyle: a shiny jeep, two swimming pools, domestic help, and a tax-free salary. The luxury of living in a modern city with a developed infrastructure cocooned me from the frightful reality of life in Saudi Arabia.
My goatee beard and good Arabic ensured that I could pass for an Arab.
But looking like a young Saudi was not enough: I had to act Saudi, be Saudi. And here I failed.
My first clash with Saudi culture came when, being driven around in a bulletproof jeep, I saw African women in black abayas tending to the rubbish bins outside restaurants, residences and other busy places.
“Why are there so many black cleaners on the streets?” I asked the driver. The driver laughed. “They’re not cleaners. They are scavengers; women who collect cardboard from all across Jeddah and then sell it. They also collect bottles, drink cans, bags.”
“You don’t find it objectionable that poor immigrant women work in such undignified and unhygienic conditions on the streets?”
“Believe me, there are worse jobs women can do.”
Though it grieves me to admit it, the driver was right. In Saudi Arabia women indeed did do worse jobs. Many of the African women lived in an area of Jeddah known as Karantina, a slum full of poverty, prostitution and disease.
A visit to Karantina, a perversion of the term “quarantine”, was one of the worst of my life. Thousands of people who had been living in Saudi Arabia for decades, but without passports, had been deemed “illegal” by the government and, quite literally, abandoned under a flyover.
A non-Saudi black student I had met at the British Council accompanied me. “Last week a woman gave birth here,” he said, pointing to a ramshackle cardboard shanty. Disturbed, I now realised that the materials I had seen those women carrying were not always for sale but for shelter.
I had never expected to see such naked poverty in Saudi Arabia.
At that moment it dawned on me that Britain, my home, had given refuge to thousands of black Africans from Somalia and Sudan: I had seen them in their droves in Whitechapel. They prayed, had their own mosques, were free and were given government housing.
Many Muslims enjoyed a better lifestyle in non-Muslim Britain than they did in Muslim Saudi Arabia. At that moment I longed to be home again.
All my talk of ummah seemed so juvenile now. It was only in the comfort of Britain that Islamists could come out with such radical utopian slogans as one government, one ever expanding country, for one Muslim nation. The racist reality of the Arab psyche would never accept black and white people as equal.
Standing in Karantina that day, I reminisced and marvelled over what I previously considered as wrong: mixed-race, mixed-religion marriages. The students to whom I described life in modern multi-ethnic Britain could not comprehend that such a world of freedom, away from “normal” Saudi racism, could exist.
Racism was an integral part of Saudi society. My students often used the word “nigger” to describe black people. Even dark-skinned Arabs were considered inferior to their lighter-skinned cousins. I was living in the world’s most avowedly Muslim country, yet I found it anything but. I was appalled by the imposition of Wahhabism in the public realm, something I had implicitly sought as an Islamist.
Part of this local culture consisted of public institutions being segregated and women banned from driving on the grounds that it would give rise to “licentiousness”. I was repeatedly astounded at the stares Faye got from Saudi men and I from Saudi women.
Faye was not immodest in her dress. Out of respect for local custom, she wore the long black abaya and covered her hair in a black scarf. In all the years I had known my wife, never had I seen her appear so dull. Yet on two occasions she was accosted by passing Saudi youths from their cars. On another occasion a man pulled up beside our car and offered her his phone number.
In supermarkets I only had to be away from Faye for five minutes and Saudi men would hiss or whisper obscenities as they walked past. When Faye discussed her experiences with local women at the British Council they said: “Welcome to Saudi Arabia.”
After a month in Jeddah I heard from an Asian taxi driver about a Filipino worker who had brought his new bride to live with him in Jeddah. After visiting the Balad shopping district the couple caught a taxi home. Some way through their journey the Saudi driver complained that the car was not working properly and perhaps the man could help push it. The passenger obliged. Within seconds the Saudi driver had sped off with the man’s wife in his car and, months later, there was still no clue as to her whereabouts.
We had heard stories of the abduction of women from taxis by sex-deprived Saudi youths. At a Saudi friend’s wedding at a luxurious hotel in Jeddah, women dared not step out of their hotel rooms and walk to the banqueting hall for fear of abduction by the bodyguards of a Saudi prince who also happened to be staying there.
Why had the veil and segregation not prevented such behaviour? My Saudi acquaintances, many of them university graduates, argued strongly that, on the contrary, it was the veil and other social norms that were responsible for such widespread sexual frustration among Saudi youth.
At work the British Council introduced free internet access for educational purposes. Within days the students had downloaded the most obscene pornography from sites banned in Saudi Arabia, but easily accessed via the British Council’s satellite connection. Segregation of the sexes, made worse by the veil, had spawned a culture of pent-up sexual frustration that expressed itself in the unhealthiest ways.
Using Bluetooth technology on mobile phones, strangers sent pornographic clips to one another. Many of the clips were recordings of homosexual acts between Saudis and many featured young Saudis in orgies in Lebanon and Egypt. The obsession with sex in Saudi Arabia had reached worrying levels: rape and abuse of both sexes occurred frequently, some cases even reaching the usually censored national press.
My students told me about the day in March 2002 when the Muttawa [the religious police] had forbidden firefighters in Mecca from entering a blazing school building because the girls inside were not wearing veils. Consequently 15 young women burnt to death, but Wahhabism held its head high, claiming that God’s law had been maintained.
As a young Islamist, I organised events at college and in the local community that were strictly segregated and I believed in it. Living in Saudi Arabia, I could see the logical outcome of such segregation.
In my Islamist days we relished stating that Aids and other sexually transmitted diseases were the result of the moral degeneracy of the West. Large numbers of Islamists in Britain hounded prostitutes in Brick Lane and flippantly quoted divorce and abortion rates in Britain. The implication was that Muslim morality was superior. Now, more than ever, I was convinced that this too was Islamist propaganda, designed to undermine the West and inject false confidence in Muslim minds.
I worried whether my observations were idiosyncratic, the musings of a wandering mind. I discussed my troubles with other British Muslims working at the British Council. Jamal, who was of a Wahhabi bent, fully agreed with what I observed and went further. “Ed, my wife wore the veil back home in Britain and even there she did not get as many stares as she gets when we go out here.” Another British Muslim had gone as far as tinting his car windows black in order to prevent young Saudis gaping at his wife.
The problems of Saudi Arabia were not limited to racism and sexual frustration.
In contemporary Wahhabism there are two broad factions. One is publicly supportive of the House of Saud, and will endorse any policy decision reached by the Saudi government and provide scriptural justification for it. The second believes that the House of Saud should be forcibly removed and the Wahhabi clerics take charge. Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda are from the second school.
In Mecca, Medina and Jeddah I met young men with angry faces from Europe, students at various Wahhabi seminaries. They reminded me of my extremist days.
They were candid in discussing their frustrations with Saudi Arabia. The country was not sufficiently Islamic; it had strayed from the teachings of Wahhabism. They were firmly on the side of the monarchy and the clerics who supported it. Soon they were to return to the West, well versed in Arabic, fully indoctrinated by Wahhabism, to become imams in British mosques.
By the summer of 2005 Faye and I had only eight weeks left in Saudi Arabia before we would return home to London. Thursday, July 7, was the beginning of the Saudi weekend. Faye and I were due to lunch with Sultan, a Saudi banker who was financial adviser to four government ministers. I wanted to gauge what he and his wife, Faye’s student, thought about life inside the land of their birth.
On television that morning we watched the developing story of a power cut on the London Underground. As the cameras focused on King’s Cross, Edgware Road, Aldgate and Russell Square, I looked on with a mixture of interest and homesickness. Soon the power-cut story turned into shell-shocked reportage of a series of terrorist bombings.
My initial suspicion was that the perpetrators were Saudis. My experience of them, their virulence towards my non-Muslim friends, their hate-filled textbooks, made me think that Bin Laden’s Saudi soldiers had now targeted my home town. It never crossed my mind that the rhetoric of jihad introduced to Britain by Hizb ut-Tahrir could have anything to do with such horror.
My sister avoided the suicide attack on Aldgate station by four minutes. On the previous day London had won the Olympic bid. At the British Council we had celebrated along with the nation that was now in mourning.
The G8 summit in Scotland had also been derailed by events further south. The summit, thanks largely to the combined efforts of Tony Blair and Bob Geldof, had been set to tackle poverty in Africa. Now it was forced to address Islamist terrorism; Arab grievances had hijacked the agenda again.
The fact that hundreds of children die in Africa every day would be of no relevance to a committed Islamist. In the extremist mind the plight of the tiny Palestinian nation is more important than the deaths of millions of black Africans. Let them die, they’re not Muslims, would be the unspoken line of argument. As an Islamist it was only the suffering of Muslims that had moved me. Now human suffering mattered to me, regardless of religion.
Faye and I were glued to the television for hours. Watching fellow Londoners come out of Tube stations injured and mortified, but facing the world with a defiant sense of dignity, made me feel proud to be British.
We met Sultan and his wife at an Indian restaurant near the British Council. Sultan was in his early thirties and his wife in her late twenties. They had travelled widely and seemed much more liberal than most Saudis I had met. Behind a makeshift partition, the restaurant surroundings were considered private and his wife, to my amazement, removed her veil.
We discussed our travels.
Sultan spoke fondly of his time in London, particularly his placement at Coutts as a trainee banker. We then moved on to the subject uppermost in my mind, the terrorist attacks on London. My host did not really seem to care. He expressed no real sympathy or shock, despite speaking so warmly of his time in London.
“I suppose they will say Bin Laden was behind the attacks. They blamed us for 9/11,” he said.
Keen to take him up on his comment, I asked him: “Based on your education in Saudi Arabian schools, do you think there is a connection between the form of Islam children are taught here and the action of 15 Saudi men on September 11?”
Without thinking, his immediate response was, ‘No. No, because Saudis were not behind 9/11. The plane hijackers were not Saudi men. One thousand two hundred and forty-six Jews were absent from work on that day and there is the proof that they, the Jews, were behind the killings. Not Saudis.”
It was the first time I heard so precise a number of Jewish absentees. I sat there pondering on the pan-Arab denial of the truth, a refusal to accept that the Wahhabi jihadi terrorism festering in their midst had inflicted calamities on the entire world.
In my class the following Sunday, the beginning of the Saudi working week, were nearly 60 Saudis. Only one mentioned the London bombings.
“Was your family harmed?” he asked.
“My sister missed an explosion by four minutes but otherwise they’re all fine, thank you.”
The student, before a full class, sighed and said: “There are no benefits in terrorism. Why do people kill innocents?”
Two others quickly gave him his answer in Arabic: “There are benefits. They will feel how we feel.”
I was livid. “Excuse me?” I said. “Who will know how it feels?”
“We don’t mean you, teacher,” said one. “We are talking about people in England. You are here. They need to know how Iraqis and Palestinians feel.”
“The British people have been bombed by the IRA for years,” I retorted. “Londoners were bombed by Hitler during the blitz. The largest demonstrations against the war in Iraq were in London. People in Britain don’t need to be taught what it feels like to be bombed.”
Several students nodded in agreement. The argumentative ones became quiet. Were they convinced by what I had said? It was difficult to tell.
Two weeks after the terrorist attacks in London another Saudi student raised his hand and asked: “Teacher, how can I go to London?”
“Much depends on your reason for going to Britain. Do you want to study or just be a tourist?”
“Teacher, I want to go London next month. I want bomb, big bomb in London, again. I want make jihad!”
“What?” I exclaimed. Another student raised both hands and shouted: “Me too! Me too!”
Other students applauded those who had just articulated what many of them were thinking. I was incandescent. In protest I walked out of the classroom to a chorus of jeering and catcalls.
My time in Saudi Arabia bolstered my conviction that an austere form of Islam (Wahhabism) married to a politicised Islam (Islamism) is wreaking havoc in the world. This anger-ridden ideology, an ideology I once advocated, is not only a threat to Islam and Muslims, but to the entire civilised world.
I vowed, in my own limited way, to fight those who had hijacked my faith, defamed my prophet and killed thousands of my own people: the human race. I was encouraged when Tony Blair announced on August 5, 2005, plans to proscribe an array of Islamist organisations that operated in Britain, foremost among them Hizb ut-Tahrir.
At the time I was impressed by Blair’s resolve. The Hizb should have been outlawed a decade ago and so spared many of us so much misery. Sadly the legislation was shelved last year amid fears that a ban would only add to the group’s attraction, so it remains both legal and active today. But it is not too late.
Saudis' role in Iraq insurgency outlined
Sunni extremists from Saudi Arabia make up half the foreign fighters in Iraq, many suicide bombers, a U.S. official says.
By Ned Parker,
Los Angeles Times
July 15, 2007
BAGHDAD — Although Bush
administration officials have frequently lashed out at Syria and Iran, accusing
it of helping insurgents and militias here, the largest number of foreign
fighters and suicide bombers in Iraq come from a third neighbor, Saudi Arabia,
according to a senior U.S. military officer and Iraqi lawmakers.
About 45% of all foreign militants targeting U.S. troops and Iraqi civilians and security forces are from Saudi Arabia; 15% are from Syria and Lebanon; and 10% are from North Africa, according to official U.S. military figures made available to The Times by the senior officer. Nearly half of the 135 foreigners in U.S. detention facilities in Iraq are Saudis, he said.
Fighters from Saudi Arabia are thought to have carried out more suicide bombings than those of any other nationality, said the senior U.S. officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the subject's sensitivity. It is apparently the first time a U.S. official has given such a breakdown on the role played by Saudi nationals in Iraq's Sunni Arab insurgency.
He said 50% of all Saudi fighters in Iraq come here as suicide bombers. In the last six months, such bombings have killed or injured 4,000 Iraqis.
The situation has left the U.S. military in the awkward position of battling an enemy whose top source of foreign fighters is a key ally that at best has not been able to prevent its citizens from undertaking bloody attacks in Iraq, and at worst shares complicity in sending extremists to commit attacks against U.S. forces, Iraqi civilians and the Shiite-led government in Baghdad.
The problem casts a spotlight on the tangled web of alliances and enmities that underlie the political relations between Muslim nations and the U.S.
In the 1980s, the Saudi intelligence service sponsored Sunni Muslim fighters for the U.S.-backed Afghan mujahedin battling Soviet troops in Afghanistan. At the time, Saudi intelligence cultivated another man helping the Afghan fighters, Osama bin Laden, the future leader of Al Qaeda who would one day turn against the Saudi royal family and mastermind the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and the Pentagon. Indeed, Saudi Arabia has long been a source of a good portion of the money and manpower for Al Qaeda: 15 of the 19 hijackers in the Sept. 11 attacks were Saudi.
Now, a group that calls itself Al Qaeda in Iraq is the greatest short-term threat to Iraq's security, U.S. military spokesman Brig. Gen. Kevin Bergner said Wednesday.
The group, one of several Sunni Muslim insurgent groups operating in Baghdad and beyond, relies on foreigners to carry out suicide attacks because Iraqis are less likely to undertake such strikes, which the movement hopes will provoke sectarian violence, Bergner said. Despite its name, the extent of the group's links to Bin Laden's network, based along the Afghan-Pakistani frontier, is unclear.
The Saudi government does not dispute that some of its youths are ending up as suicide bombers in Iraq, but says it has done everything it can to stop the bloodshed.
"Saudis are actually being misused. Someone is helping them come to Iraq. Someone is helping them inside Iraq. Someone is recruiting them to be suicide bombers. We have no idea who these people are. We aren't getting any formal information from the Iraqi government," said Gen. Mansour Turki, spokesman for the Saudi Interior Ministry.
"If we get good feedback from the Iraqi government about Saudis being arrested in Iraq, probably we can help," he said.
Defenders of Saudi Arabia pointed out that it has sought to control its lengthy border with Iraq and has fought a bruising domestic war against Al Qaeda since Sept. 11.
"To suggest they've done nothing to stem the flow of people into Iraq is wrong," said a U.S. intelligence official in Washington, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "People do get across that border. You can always ask, 'Could more be done?' But what are they supposed to do, post a guard every 15 or 20 paces?"
Others contend that Saudi Arabia is allowing fighters sympathetic to Al Qaeda to go to Iraq so they won't create havoc at home.
Iraqi Shiite lawmaker Sami Askari, an advisor to Prime Minister Nouri Maliki, accused Saudi officials of a deliberate policy to sow chaos in Baghdad.
"The fact of the matter is that Saudi Arabia has strong intelligence resources, and it would be hard to think that they are not aware of what is going on," he said.
Askari also alleged that imams at Saudi mosques call for jihad, or holy war, against Iraq's Shiites and that the government had funded groups causing unrest in Iraq's largely Shiite south. Sunni extremists regard Shiites as unbelievers.
Other Iraqi officials said that though they believed Saudi
Arabia, a Sunni fundamentalist regime, had no interest in helping Shiite-ruled
Iraq, it was not helping militants either. But some Iraqi Shiite leaders say the
Saudi royal family sees the Baghdad government as a proxy for its regional
rival, Shiite-ruled Iran, and wants to unseat it.
With its own border with Iraq largely closed, Saudi fighters take what is now an established route by bus or plane to Syria, where they meet handlers who help them cross into Iraq's western deserts, the senior U.S. military officer said.
He suggested it was here that Saudi Arabia could do more, by implementing rigorous travel screenings for young Saudi males. Iraqi officials agreed.
"Are the Saudis using all means possible? Of course not…. And we think they need to do more, as does Syria, as does Iran, as does Jordan," the senior officer said. An estimated 60 to 80 foreign fighters cross into Iraq each month, according to the U.S. military.
"It needs to be addressed by the government of Iraq head on. They have every right to stand up to a country like Saudi Arabia and say, 'Hey, you are killing thousands of people by allowing your young jihadists to come here and associate themselves with an illegal worldwide network called Al Qaeda."
Both the White House and State Department declined to comment for this article.
Turki, the Saudi spokesman, defended the right of his citizens to travel without restriction.
"If you leave Saudi Arabia and go to other places and find somebody who drags them to Iraq, that is a problem we can't do anything about," Turki said. He added that security officials could stop people from leaving the kingdom only if they had information on them.
U.S. officials had not shared with Iraqi officials information gleaned from Saudi detainees, but this has started to change, said an Iraqi source, who asked not to be identified. For example, U.S. officials provided information about Saudi fighters and suicide bombers to Iraqi security officials who traveled to Saudi Arabia last week.
Iraqi advisor Askari asserted that Vice President Dick Cheney, in a visit to Saudi Arabia in May, pressured officials to crack down on militant traffic to Iraq. But that message has not yet produced results, Askari said.
The close relationship between the U.S. and oil-rich Saudi Arabia has become increasingly difficult.
Saudi leaders in early February undercut U.S. diplomacy in the Israeli-Palestinian dispute by brokering, in Mecca, an agreement to form a Fatah-Hamas "unity" government in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. And King Abdullah took Americans by surprise by declaring at an Arab League gathering that the U.S. presence in Iraq was illegitimate.
U.S. officials remain sensitive about the relationship. Asked why U.S. officials in Iraq had not publicly criticized Saudi Arabia the way they had Iran or Syria, the senior military officer said, "Ask the State Department. This is a political juggernaut."
Last week when U.S. military spokesman Bergner declared Al Qaeda in Iraq the country's No. 1 threat, he released a profile of a thwarted suicide bomber, but said he had not received clearance to reveal his nationality. The bomber was a Saudi national, the senior military officer said Saturday.
Would-be suicide bomber
The fighter, a young college graduate whose mother was a teacher and father a professor, had been recruited in a mosque to join Al Qaeda in Iraq. He was given money for a bus ticket and a phone number to call in Syria to contact a handler who would smuggle him into Iraq.
Once the young Saudi made it in, he was under the care of Iraqis who gave him his final training and indoctrination. At the very last minute, the bomber decided he didn't want to blow himself up. He was supposed to have been one of two truck bombers on a bridge outside Ramadi. When the first truck exploded, he panicked and chose not to trigger his own detonator, and Iraqi police arrested him.
Al Qaeda in Iraq and its affiliate groups number anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 individuals, the senior U.S. military officer said. Iraqis make up the majority of members, facilitating attacks, indoctrinating, fighting, but generally not blowing themselves up. Iraqis account for roughly 10% of suicide bombers, according to the U.S. military.
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